The end of 2020 promises to bring some much-needed relief for Americans as vaccines begin to be administered during the current pandemic, promising some light at the end of the tunnel.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to crack down on people who celebrate a bit too much and get behind the wheel. The NHTSA announced its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in mid-December.
2019 saw significant declines in traffic death
The NHTSA also released preliminary data from 2019, reporting fatalities decreased in every major safety category. The agency says 36,096 people died on American highways that year, down by 739, or 2% from 2018.
Deaths resulting from crashes involving alcohol-impaired individuals also decreased by 5.3%, reaching the lowest level since 1982. However, safety experts warn that progress is jeopardized due to the changing driving habits and behaviors in the wake of 2020’s health emergency.
Extensive enforcement measures expected
While the volume of traffic decreased significantly during 2020 due to stay-at-home orders and other pandemic effects, fatality rates in the first half of the year rose sharply, and many drivers were charged with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As a rule, fatalities and DWI charges increase significantly during the holiday season, and law enforcement agencies will be out in full force looking for any drivers exhibiting risky behavior, such as speeding, weaving or committing any traffic violations.
Take these steps if you are suspected of DWI
In the event you are stopped by an officer and suspected of DWI, try to remain as calm as possible and follow these tips:
- Pull over safely and quickly and turn off your vehicle
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches your car
- Respond politely to the officer’s instructions
- You are not required to answer the officer’s questions
- You do not have to take a breath test, but you can face repercussions
- If you are charged with DWI, request a lawyer before answering any questions
Take notes of the entire process
It’s crucial for your defense to document your encounter with law enforcement. An experienced DWI attorney will thoroughly scrutinize every detail, including whether the officer had probable cause to stop you in the first place. Your lawyer will also dispute evidence, such as breathalyzer results, which are often flawed.
The best advice is never to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. However, that may be difficult to avoid in certain circumstances, and officers frequently make mistakes either in pulling someone over or in administering breath or field sobriety tests. A knowledgeable lawyer will dispute the case and work to have the charges and penalties dropped or reduced.